The Cincinnati Reds have a whole lot of players that seem to be vying for very few spots on the 26-man roster this spring. Among those spots that are up for grabs could be a backup infield spot and perhaps two spots as a backup outfielder. There are about 10 players playing for those three jobs, though. Unfortunately for the Reds, there may be four jobs available, at least in the short term. Eugenio Suarez injured his right shoulder in a swimming pool accident and underwent surgery on Tuesday to have loose cartilage removed. There’s a chance that he may not be ready to play when the season begin on March 26th when the Reds open up against the St. Louis Cardinals.

There’s a chance that Eugenio Suarez will be ready to go when the season starts, but that’s just under two months away. While he showed that he’s basically Wolverine in his ability to heal last season, returning in less than two weeks from a broken thumb, this is going to take a little bit more time. It doesn’t sound like he will miss much of the regular season, if he misses any of it, but the Reds are making plans just in case.

Fortunately for them, they have a lot of different options. We should start out by noting that Nick Senzel isn’t being considered as the third baseman. He’s also going to be coming back from shoulder surgery to start the year, and his injury was considered more serious than that of Suarez. That doesn’t necessarily take Senzel out of the equation, though. It’s certainly possible that he could slide to second base, while Mike Moustakas slides to third base until Suarez comes back.

Depending on how long the Reds would expect Suarez to be out to begin the season could come into play. If he were only going to miss the bare minimum time frame, they could just opt to keep Moustakas and Senzel at their expected positions of second and center, and slide Josh VanMeter, Kyle Farmer, or Alex Blandino into the starting role at third base and call it a day.

However it plays out, if Suarez is out to begin the year that is, there’s going to be a spot opened up on the roster. While you never want someone to be injured and that’s why you get your opportunity, it could be a big opportunity for someone.

Players who seem to be on the fringes of roster contention would include Phillip Ervin, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Mark Payton, Scott Schebler, Josh VanMeter, Alex Blandino, and Kyle Farmer are all potentially fighting for a few spots in that extra infielder/outfielder space. Spring training shouldn’t be used to determine jobs, at least spring training stats – they aren’t reliable or indicative of what to expect moving forward into the season. But just because it shouldn’t happen, and somehow we all seem to know this, it happens.

It may not just be about the open roster spot, though. A player could wind up making the roster for a specific role that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Depending on how things play out with who fills in at third, it could change how the bench will be filled out. Maybe Josh VanMeter’s ability to play first, second, third, left, and right field really gives him the leg up. Maybe Alex Blandino’s glove work at third and second base, with the ability to back up at shortstop is now more important than it was this past weekend?

Whether any of that matters or not, we won’t know for a while. But if it does, even a short opportunity given to someone could change their season, or even career. A strong spring by one of these players could get them on the roster – a chance they may not have otherwise gotten. And if they can take advantage of any playing time they would get, it could be someone else that gets optioned back to Triple-A when Suarez returns. Maybe it gives the Reds extra wiggle-room on Mark Payton, a Rule 5 pick who can’t be sent down. Perhaps it leads to Aristides Aquino getting at-bats that he would have otherwise lost after the signing of two free agent outfielders in the offseason. There’s a whole lot of ifs-and-buts in the scenario. And heck, it might even be a scenario that won’t even exist in two months time. The possibilities, though – they are almost endless with the roster that the Reds have built.

28 Responses

  1. Oldtimer

    Wally Pipp (ex Red about 100 years ago) agrees. He sat out and Lou Gehrig took over.

  2. Mac624

    Idk. I have never been convinced they were going to trade Senzel unless they fit into a situation that was just too good to pass up. So if Senzel is going to be around, they can absorb this injury especially if Holt is brought on board.

    I know they are gonna trade some outfielders but I guess while everyone dreamed of Senzel and pieces for Linder, I’m thinking more along the lines of surplus OFs for bullpen or catching help and live with Galvis. And if that’s how the front office goes about things, then I don’t see a shift in the roster to absorb Suarez

    • Oldtimer

      To obtain Lindor, it would take Senzel and two prospects of his caliber (not just pieces). Lindor is the best SS in MLB. The three players/prospects the Reds might have to trade are not the best anything in MLB or even MiLB.

      • sixpack2

        One year of Lindor is NOT worth that price. Best SS, yes but giving up 12 – 18 years of value for ONE year does not give a GM a long career.

      • Oldtimer

        The seller determines the price. The buyer decides to pay it or not.

      • Big Ed

        Lindor had a fWAR of 4.4 last year. Marcus Semien had a 7.6; Xander Bogaerts, 6.8; Trevor Story, 5.8; and Javier Baez, 4.4 as well. Paul DeJong and Jorge Polanco were close at 4.0. You can easily project that Gleyber Torres and Fernando Tatis, Jr. (both 3.6) will improve this year.

        Lindor is excellent, but he is not the best MLB shortstop.

  3. LB

    Not that the team is lacking for 3B options, but do we think it possible that this would push the Reds towards possible signing Brock Holt? Would be a solid option to let Moose play 3B if Suarez misses time, as Brock could play 2B (basically a more surefire version of JVM)

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think it changes any of their plans in terms of who to bring in. It sounds like if there’s any time missed, it’s not going to be much time. Changing your plan for something like that seems a bit extreme. That said, they were reportedly already interested in Holt.

      • Optimist

        Isn’t Holt really a very big upgrade over the current 26-man spots? Namely can cover SS like Blandino, and other positions such as JVM or Farmer, and much better offensive production than Blandino and as good as the others?

        That said, this Suarez episode sound as if it just distributes a few more PAs amongst the other regulars, with a rotation at 3b for a few weeks, if that long.

  4. Jim Delaney

    Reds ownership is making contending in 2020 there main goal. If Suarez might miss any regular season time Reds should be continuing to look at improving the roster. I know Holt has been mentioned but I am hopeful Reds are. Ow looking into signing Wilmer Flores. Flores can play 1B, 2B and 3B, a right handed bat that absolutely smokes left hand pitching. Sign him he plays 2B with Moose moving to 3B if Suarez misses anytime. Use Flores at 1B and 2B against lefties. Votto was brutal vs lefties last year.
    By signing Flores it will help you with still having Senzel as a trade chip to improve at SS either now or in season if possible.

  5. Simon Cowell

    I was already wondering if Senzel would start the season on rehab. If he does he won’t be alone.

  6. KyWilson1

    I hope I am wrong, but unless Votto has a bounce back, and Senzel really gets better, I just don’t see this team being close to playoff contention. The pieces just don’t seem to fit together. Good news is that some of the signings could provide trade capital if they fall out of contention.

    • Alex

      I can see moose playing alot of first base if votto struggles. This outfield could be the worst defensive outfield in Baseball though with castellano and winker out there at the same time.

    • Oldtimer

      Votto is 36 and likely future HOF. Pete Rose exceeded his career average offensive numbers from ages 35 to 40. No reason why Votto can’t.

  7. Norwood Nate

    Sign Holt, regardless as he makes our team better and can cover a bunch of spots including SS, and his bat is pretty solid. Have Holt play 2B or 3B until Suárez comes back with Moose at the other spot. Then Holt splits a lot of time with Galvis and gives rest to other regulars around the INF. JVM, because of his LH bat, gets a spot on the bench until Suárez is back.

  8. Krozley

    If the starting OF is Senzel, Shogo, and NickC, the bench as it looks today appears to be Winker, Ervin, Casali, Farmer, and backup SS (Blandino, Colon, someone new like Holt). If Suarez is on the DL at the start of the season, I would think JVM would grab that spot. If they allow Senzel to play in the infield, then maybe Aquino stays instead. One thing to consider is that if Suarez’s shoulder allows him to hit but they feel he needs another week to feel comfortable he can fully throw, he could begin the season on the bench for pinch hitting duties for the opening series and then DH the three games in Toronto.

    • Tom

      If Suarez is out to start the year, I might prefer to have Aquino up over JVM to replace the power.

  9. Jon Ryker

    I think it means they’ll have to wait until he’s healthy and playing before they trade him for prospects…..that’s fine.

  10. BK

    I would like to see Holt or Wilmer Flores signed as a backup infielder–both have excelled in bench roles with limited playing time. I would prefer to see VanMeter and Aquino optioned to AAA where they play everyday. If Suarez misses only limited time, VanMeter would be the best option starting at 3B in his absence.

    • Oldtimer

      JVM batted .239 and slugged .402 in 2019. He’s not as good as his press clippings.

      • Oldtimer

        Correction: .237 BA and .408 SLG. OPS+ was 88. Not very good.

      • Alex

        Was his first taste of the bigs and he never consistent playing time

  11. MK

    I have to believe that with the past healing history of the two surgical patients Suarez will be ready before Senzel. Example Suarez breaks thumb supposed to be out 6 weeks, back in less than two. Senzel breaks thumb with torn ligaments and a 6 week heal turns into half a season. My bet is Suarez plays opening day and Shogo is in center.

  12. sixpack2

    Suarez has a shoulder cleanup. He should not lose any muscle mass over the 2-4 weeks to heal, and will be light throwing before that. I see him ready to go, mid spring training. Optimism as a fan. Sign Holt.

  13. Lawrence Turner

    Note to Reds:
    Sign Addison Russell, or Jordy Mercer. Unless Kyle Farmer can play SS when he is not the catcher. Farmer is the most capable red of being plugged in anywhere.

    The signing of Nick C will prove to be just foolish. Stone hands cannot play defense. Teams will work to hit balls his direction to score easy runs. Reds pitchers will turn gray over his awful defense.

    Lorenzen can handle center field no problem. Otherwise get Cambron Maybin ASAP.

    What a mess the Reds are in now.